The University’s Office of Admission announced a hybrid-style Days on the Lawn this year, with a virtual portion offered at the end of February and in-person events planned throughout April. Days on the Lawn is an all-day open house event designed for admitted students to explore the University prior to making an enrollment decision.
The event has traditionally included housing tours, information sessions for different schools and colleges within the University and opportunities to speak with administrators, current students and other admitted students.
The Office of Admission has offered virtual Days on the Lawn for the past two years due to the pandemic. Beginning in 2020, students were able to attend information sessions on Zoom for different undergraduate schools and colleges, as well as student life sessions. Parents could attend virtual information sessions as well. The Office of Admission also provides students with a virtual tour of the University through the immersive technology software YouVisit.
First-year College student Olivia Conniff had visited Grounds prior to attending virtual Days on the Lawn last year in addition to taking a virtual tour of Grounds. For Conniff, however, the virtual information sessions still played a role in her decision to enroll.
“I think it helped my decision a lot, because they had students talk in the information sessions,” Conniff said. “And I think especially the College of Arts and Sciences information session just made me feel more at ease about making a choice because it kind of cleared up my options.”
According to Macy Lenox, associate dean of the Office of Undergraduate Admission, the events in late February follow two virtual welcome events held for students admitted through early decision in partnership with the Office of Orientation and New Student Programs. The February events will continue through early March and will include three virtual programs for students admitted through early action or early decision, and will discuss learning, living and leading at the University.
The learning program will involve discussions with current students and staff regarding University academic life, while the living program will host staff and student co-chairs from the Office of Housing and Residence Life to discuss housing at the University. The leading program invites admittees to meet current student leaders to learn about student self-governance and getting involved at the University.
Conniff reiterated the significance of hybrid programming for different students.
“I think the most beneficial part of it would be for students who are uncomfortable with COVID-19,” Conniff said. “Or maybe even students who live further away and aren’t able to come for a visit.”
Lenox underscored the Office of Admissions’s intention to continue offering virtual programming in the future, highlighting its importance in conjunction with in-person activities.
“We first implemented a virtual component to Days on the Lawn in 2020 when the pandemic shut down our in-person events a few weeks before they were supposed to begin,” Lenox said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “The silver lining was that we realized very quickly that even when we had the opportunity to return to in-person programming, we needed to include a virtual component to our admitted student programs so those that did not have the ability to visit could experience [the University] through panels, chats, and other virtual events.”
Third-year College student Rachel Stuart said her experience attending in-person Days on the Lawn directly impacted her decision to come to the University.
“As an out-of-state student, Days on the Lawn was an opportunity to really get a sense of [the University] and the campus,” Stuart said. “After visiting in-person, I felt like I could really see myself going here.”
Stuart also said that while she appreciated the benefits of hybrid programming for out-of-state students, it’s hard to compare to the impact of an in-person visit.
“I think there is a benefit to hybrid Days on the Lawn for out-of-state students or if you have already seen the school before,” Stuart said. “But it’s hard to get the full feel online.”
Following the three-program series in February, students will have the opportunity to attend virtual student chats a few nights each week. Additional programming events will also be available for international students, Black and Latinx students, first-generation students and students invited to join one of the University scholar programs.